Building Block hit as Council pull out
NO EXPLANATION GIVEN FOR BUILDING BLOCK WITHDRAWAL
PLANS by IDA Ireland, Sligo County Council and IT Sligo to rent a floor at the Building Block at €100,000 a year have run aground.
The trio have pulled out of plans for the first floor of buiding, which is owned by a pension trust- Everards Trustees. The ground floor was developed into an ultra-modern shared office space geared towards the high tech and creative industries sector.
The proposals involving IDA Ireland, IT Sligo and Sligo County Council (LEO) were for a broadly similar development.
A plan by the County Council, IDA and IT Sligo to lease a floor of the Building Block has come to an abrupt end.
Requests for a report into the plan, which was promoted enthusiastically earlier in the year by the council, was met with a straightforward response that it was no longer proceeding with the project which was also to involve IT Sligo and the IDA.
It had been proposed that a ten year contract/lease would be entered into with the owners of the building and the cost per year for the first floor would be in excess of €100,000 - a quarter to be paid by the Council, a quarter by the I.T. and half by the IDA.
This now all appears to have fallen by the wayside.
On Monday this week the Council told The Sligo Champion: “Issues in relation to the ‘Building Block’ are a matter for the owners of the property, Sligo County Council will not be commenting further at this stage.”
There was no further explanation forthcoming.
The council’s involvement in the project was through the Local Enterprise Office.
Councillor Declan Bree had asked the council for a report on the council’s plans and had initially been informed that negotiations were ongoing and that a report would issue in due course to the council.
In a statement, the co-founders of The Building Block, Denise Rushe and John Monahan told The Champion: “The negotiations between the building owner and the IDA/ Council have been separate to The Building Block collaborative space.
“The Building Block continues to grow and develop with a roll out of immediate 10 new desks and future plans to move upstairs within the building.
“The events space has been host to many significant events in recent months and welcomed many visiting international companies.
“We have also noted an increase in hot desk use and desk rental demand, and continue to support the local entrepreneurial eco-system, acting as a hub for startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs.”
On May 18th last an SPC meeting of the Council was told by John Reilly of the Local Enterprise Office that the building, which is owned by a pension trust- Everards Trustees had developed the ground floor into an ultra-modern shared office space geared towards the high tech and creative industries sector.
The proposals involving three parties: IDA Ireland, IT Sligo and Sligo County Council (LEO) were for a broadly similar development on the first floor of the building.
Councillors were informed that the legal documentation was imminent via the IDA Property Division (the lead negotiator) and may contain the following: · 10 year lease with a break clause at year 5 subject to around 9 month’s rent penalty;
· IDA Ireland to take 50% stake; SCC(LEO) and IT Sligo 25% each - rental and other costs to be paid pro-rata;
· A basic rental cost payable via the LEO of €12,308 p.a. plus vat – after fit out charges (to bring the first floor to the same type of modern standard as is the case with the ground floor), utilities, cleaning, etc are factored in, the overall annual cost is anticipated to be €26,475 plus vat.
Mr. Reilly stated that the key rationale for involvement in the project was to put in place in the centre of the city an asset in terms of enterprise and economic development that will project Sligo as a modern top class location for business.
Potentially, businesses from outside of the region can operate on a small scale, get a feel for the potential of Sligo, the services, facilities and quality of life on offer.
He stated that the availability of such a venue for local progressive businesses to network, learn from each other and grow will assist indigenous business development.
A scenario involving a number of businesses setting up larger operations, having sampled what is on offer in the facility, is one that all concerned will work towards.
The members were informed that the maximum rent receivable (based on 100% occupancy) would be in the region of €39,000 to €42,000.
The Building Block on Bridge Street.
The Building Block on Bridge Street, Sligo. Pic: Donal Hackett.